I’ve been thinking a lot about trauma lately as I contemplate my increasingly vulnerable and terrifying station as a chronically ill woman who will have to rely on the long-term care and concern of others if I am to survive. For some reason I found this topic exceptionally difficult to write about in a coherent and meaningful way and in my experience as a somewhat seasoned social critic, that usually indicates that there is some thought-termination around the issue and that I am working my way through something that is not meant to be dissected and understood and that is probably the case here. For whatever reason, this post seems like it just does not want to be written, and as a writer and a creative person I can and do respect that, so I am giving up on the idea of writing a proper post about it. I have scrapped a dozen versions of this post and I’m glad they are gone.
But there is something that I — not my muse — would like to say about trauma, about women’s experience with trauma, how it affects us, and what little can probably be done about it. But little is not nothing, and where there is anything women can do to avoid trauma and to avoid becoming traumatized, women seriously need to do everything in their power to avoid it. The effects of trauma on our long-term physical and mental well-being are just too serious to ignore and we cannot keep letting this happen to us; we are told that “what does not kill us makes us stronger” but this is a reversal, and a lie. And besides, there are probably worse things than death and it seems to me like trauma may be one of those things. In reality, the constant traumas women experience that stop short of killing us only make us weaker, sicker, and less able to function. For women, the effect of constant trauma is that we are neither here nor there — we end up the walking dead.